WRITING A POLITE EMAIL American Pragmatics and Culture Spring 2012 Ms. Candice QuiñonesContent from Purdue OWL website: “Email Etiquette” (Karl Stolley, Alan Brizee)
POLITE EMAILS• These include several factors depending on who you are writing to and your relationship with them.• We will explore: • Writing to people you don’t know • Continuing email conversations • What information to send/not send • Attachments
EMAILING SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW• Be sure to include a meaningful subject line • This helps clarify what your message is about and may also help the recipient prioritize reading your email• Just like a written letter, be sure to open your email with a greeting like-- Dear Dr. Jones, or Ms. Smith:• Use standard spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. • THERES NOTHING WORSE THAN AN EMAIL SCREAMING A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS.
EMAILING SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW• Write clear, short paragraphs and be direct and to the point. • Professionals and academics alike see their email accounts as business. • Dont write unnecessarily long emails or otherwise waste the recipients time• Be friendly and cordial, but dont try to joke around. • Jokes and witty remarks may be inappropriate and, more commonly, may not come off appropriately in email
CONTINUING EMAIL CONVERSATIONS• Once you have exchanged emails with a person on a given subject, it is probably OK to leave greetings out of your follow-up emails.
OTHER POINTS TO CONSIDER ABOUTCONTINUING CONVERSATIONS OVER EMAIL:• Try to respond within a reasonable time frame, though "reasonable" will depend on the recipients expectations and the subject being discussed• Trim back the old messages: • Most email clients will keep copying older messages to the bottom of an email. • Delete older messages so as to keep your message size from getting too large, and to keep your messages looking clean.
OTHER POINTS TO CONSIDER ABOUTCONTINUING CONVERSATIONS OVER EMAIL:• If someone asks a lot of questions, it may be OK to embed your answers into the senders message copied at the bottom of your email. • However, if youre going to do this, be sure to say so at the top, and leave generous space. • For example: • > How long are you staying? Less than two weeks. >Will you have time to visit with us? Im really hoping to, but my schedule will be pretty tight. Let me get back to you about that after the weekend.
WHAT INFORMATION NOT TO SENDNever send the following information over email:• Usernames and passwords• Credit card or other account information• Avoid including sensitive or information that could be potentially damaging to someones career and/or reputation, including your own. • Beyond emails general lack of security and confidentiality, your recipient can always accidentally hit the “Forward” button, leave his/her email account open on a computer, or print and forget that they have printed a copy of your email.
SENDING ATTACHMENTSGuidelines:• Never send an attachment to someone you dont know the first time you contact them. • (Unless, of course, the contact has posted a job ad requesting a resume in a Word document). • They (or their computers) might think it is spam or a virus, and delete your message.• Avoid unnecessarily large file sizes. (Esp. digital photos—resize first)• When you must send a large file or set of files, do the recipient the courtesy of sending an email telling them what youll be sending and why.• Be sure to have anti-virus software installed on your computer to scan all of your outgoing and incoming messages for viruses.
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